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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Things LinkShare Could Improve
    The title is worded strongly for a reason - To get someone at LinkShare to pay attention to complaints and suggestions for improvement. Feel free to add your own ideas to the list.

    1. Inability to search by keyword (which would in theory search merchant name, short description, and long description) for a new merchant. Currently you can only search by name.

    2. Having the new merchant list "collapsed" by default, and not automatically linked to an apply form when clicked. This is a huge downside for new merchants, whereas new merchants in CJ get a ton of front-page exposure when they first join. I've been on both sides of LinkShare (affiliate and merchant).

    3. Not showing currently approved merchants in the category listings.

    4. Linking to .txt files for terms. Unformatted terms are ugly enough, but when my browser won't wrap the text, it looks horrible. There's no easy way to find your way through it.

    5. Listing PPC affiliate terms somewhere other than somewhere in the middle of a long text-only terms file. I'm a PPC affiliate, and I don't want to have to dig through 7 pages of garbage terms to figure out if the merchant has PPC restrictions, and what those are. Every merchant uses different terms to describe restrictions, so it's not easy to search through.

    6. Numbering program terms. I've gotten automated emails before stating "Program term 8.1 has expired, and you are now on program term 9.1". How about actually listing the terms?

    Sorry if this seems like a rant, but I've been constantly ignored for a while on these requests, and figured that some consensus would help.

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  3. #2
    Member esnagel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua
    3. Not showing currently approved merchants in the category listings.
    I'll second that one

  4. #3
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    > " . . . To get someone at LinkShare to pay attention . . . . " <

    Good luck with that. I tried for years, without success.

  5. #4
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    The thread title is... er... a little strong

    FYI: Just yesterday I emailed it would be nice if they had some sliding scale type of payment for merchants - because all businesses aren't the size of walmart, and their missing out of some quality small businesses

    Within 10 minutes, I got a detailed email showing they actually have 3 levels of merchants - and 3 levels of fees

    Usual LS disclaimer: Are they perfect? (LOL) no! But they've come a long way over the years

  6. #5
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    I do not think they suck.. those are areas of improvements. I can point out the faults of that CJ and SAS, etc.. i.e. CJ would cancel an acct after 3-6 months of no sale. They cancelled my acct and LS did not. I focused on LS after a break and made $800 in one month when I was an affililate. No love loss with CJ.

    That being said, LS knows about ABW and they do monitor ABW.
    Hopefully somebody at LS reading this will act on this.

    As Billy and also Mike Coley said, they have come a long way. They do listen but it takes "quite" a while to implement it..

  7. #6
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    I just wish I could find a way to automate the export of links out of LinkShare. I emailed support and got a form response that had nothing to do with my question. It did say that if that didn't solve my problem to email another address. I'll have to try that.

    In fairness to LS I haven't given them a lot of effort lately, and am just now trying to get going with them in a bigger way.


  8. #7
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw
    I just wish I could find a way to automate the export of links out of LinkShare.
    Are you trying to export all links for a merchant?

    If you are doing this, i could see the benefit for the affiliate as it is easier for an affiliate to pick and choose links on excel. Would be a neat feature as opposed to flipping from page to page.

    On the flip side of things, it would make it easier for merchant competitors to download all links of their competitors.
    i.e. CheapTickets can download Orbitz's links easily via the affiliate interface.

    Some merchants might not like it..

    (note: CheapTickets and Orbitz used as eg as they are the same co. No harm, no faul)

  9. #8
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Are you trying to export all links for a merchant?
    Something like SAS, Avant, or Performics Orange links. You would probably not want all of them, but the ability to filter.


  10. #9
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw
    Something like SAS, Avant, or Performics Orange links. You would probably not want all of them, but the ability to filter.
    This is exactly what I want. Linkshare gets my lowest priority in terms of updates just because it's too much trouble to go through emails collecting links.

    At least I can auto apply to datafeeds without emailing requests though.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  11. #10
    Member GoNicoFish's Avatar
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    We are relative newbies. Less than 2 years but long enough. And, it is interesting to note that CJ, Performics and SAS have all initiated solid relationships with us. Several AM's have gone out of their way to business with us and/or help us. And two years later, not a word out of Linkshare. And, we have had some really good months promoting their merchants.

    I would love if Linkshare would take an interest. Our performance with the other networks after only brief conversations has tripled. Linkshare has some great merchants with fairly good interface. But, the potential for greatness is going by the wayside.

  12. #11
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpaw
    I emailed support and got a form response that had nothing to do with my question. It did say that if that didn't solve my problem to email another address. I'll have to try that.
    I'll second that - It gave the impression that they thought that all affiliates are idiots, and that they don't even have the time to review an affiliate's question before responding with a form-mail. But then again, judging the quality of new affiliates in LinkShare vs. CJ, I somewhat see why...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Ewe
    I do not think they suck.. those are areas of improvements. I can point out the faults of that CJ and SAS, etc.. i.e. CJ would cancel an acct after 3-6 months of no sale. They cancelled my acct and LS did not. I focused on LS after a break and made $800 in one month when I was an affililate. No love loss with CJ.
    Canceling dormant accounts leads to a much cleaner network for merchants to deal with, especially when both networks (well, at least for smaller accounts) charge per-user fees to email affiliates, or have limits on that.

    LinkShare also doesn't give merchants the ability to see what type of earnings an affiliate had compared with the network as a whole, and also doesn't let affiliates judge advertisers in the same way. Sure, this can be a disadvantage to smaller advertisers, but hell, at least let advertisers see the earnings rank of publishers. With no account purges like CJ, many accounts in LinkShare have outdated websites listed, leading merchants to decline potentially amazing affiliates.

    Lastly, I can never get their email verification/change thing to work - I used to be able to get a confirmation email sent to me containing a link to confirm my address, but that link was always broken. Forwarded the issue on to support, and never heard back. Just changed my address to yet another carrier today, and LinkShare still tells me that my email account is rejecting their email, when I know it's not even attempting to send me an email (I run the server).

  13. #12
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua
    Canceling dormant accounts leads to a much cleaner network for merchants to deal with, especially when both networks (well, at least for smaller accounts) charge per-user fees to email affiliates, or have limits on that.
    Canceling "dormant" accounts also kills off newbies who are just getting started and don't know any better. The account might not have any sales, but it might not be from lack of trying. They sign up, take a few months to learn a few things, take a few more months to build a website, and by the time they start getting any traffic, they're shut out of CJ. Six months is a very newbie-unfriendly time frame. Not everyone hits the ground running... I didn't. CJ has cancelled my account twice now for inactivity, and unless I come across a merchant that I can't live without, I'm not going to give them a third chance.
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  14. #13
    Merchant & ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua

    Canceling dormant accounts leads to a much cleaner network for merchants to deal with, especially when both networks (well, at least for smaller accounts) charge per-user fees to email affiliates, or have limits on that.
    Was never a dormant acct, it's was generating impressions and clicks but no sale.
    Lastly, I can never get their email verification/change thing to work - I used to be able to get a confirmation email sent to me containing a link to confirm my address, but that link was always broken. Forwarded the issue on to support, and never heard back. Just changed my address to yet another carrier today, and LinkShare still tells me that my email account is rejecting their email, when I know it's not even attempting to send me an email (I run the server).
    Yeah, that is an issue and I have been with LS since 2000.

  15. #14
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    My $0.02.

    I've never come across a website that was more impossible or frustrating to use. I've been a web developer since the mid-90's, I know my way around the block, so when I say this I hope it carries some weight.

    First, even with no anti-spyware installed and cookie and security settings wide open I couldn't sign up to Linkshare with Firefox, Opera or IE. I finally got in using Netscape.

    This must be a big problem with them because they have a big FAQ dealing with the issue which outlines long lists of steps to take to solve the problem (which in my case didn't work). They're the only network, and indeed the only website, that I've had this problem with - ever.

    However, once I was registered and in, even using NS, I couldn't set up my account properly because the site simply wouldn't retain any information submitted through their forms. Everything I typed just disappeared into the ether once I hit submit.

    Let's pause for a moment to consider the sheer implications of that last bit...form submissions didn't work. Again, I've never come across anything like this before in all my years on the web, it was like I was on a site built by total newbies, like the site code wasn't even production level yet.

    I tried. I heard they have a Canadian program which is the only reason I tried so hard to get in, otherwise I would have quit much earlier. I don't know how others have managed to get onto LS at all.

    So I obviously agree with the OP.

  16. #15
    Member shopsat24seven's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Why I don't use them much
    The biggest reason I don't use them as an affiliate is because when you view all of their programs they don't rate them or give EPC. If that has changed, let me know.

    Without that information I feel like I could be wasting alot of time. I could be working hard at setting up a site/offer for a merchant that has conversion rates in the tank.

    For being a first tier network, their tools are like 3rd tier useful and robust.

  17. #16
    ABW Ambassador Joshua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shopsat24seven
    The biggest reason I don't use them as an affiliate is because when you view all of their programs they don't rate them or give EPC. If that has changed, let me know.

    Without that information I feel like I could be wasting alot of time. I could be working hard at setting up a site/offer for a merchant that has conversion rates in the tank.

    For being a first tier network, their tools are like 3rd tier useful and robust.
    You're absolutely correct. It's been that way since 2000 when I joined... They really need to get with the times.

  18. #17
    web dev with whiskers tn-morgen's Avatar
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    LS was the first network I ever heard of. I signed up (IE5 or 6) and posted links.

    I kept from being dropped by CJ by buying something from my own links. Simple fix - if you believe in what you are doing and selling.

    I found SAS and was totally lost. I couldn't figure anything out for the longest time!

    Now - I'm so sold on datafeeds that I want all the merchants I work with at LS to provide them. They are mostly not available from what I can see.

    And yeah - the email change (changing anything on your account!) needs to be more easily done. I changed my work address for checks & I'm still getting them at home from LS.

    And their merchants - some are exclusive to LS so I have to stay on the network. If the merchants start an in-house, I'll go there in a NY minute!

    No more ranting. I've given up trying to change this elephant's direction. Just work around it and step carefully. Ignore the rest.

  19. #18
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    I find SAS worse than LS. LS is not perfect by any means. Comes 3rd to only CJ and Performics.

  20. #19
    Amen to 1, 3, and 5 especially. The inability to do a simple search is aggravating AND baffling!

    Alison

  21. #20
    Moderator bibby's Avatar
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    I think all the major networks have had their issues. The problem with Linkshare is that they doon't repond to questions and if they do, it can be weeks. Many of their merchants don't respond to questions either.

  22. #21
    Newbie DrStrangelove's Avatar
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    We've been trying to work out a solution with linkshare for 2.5 years on how to use deep links, and keep getting a run around. We're pulling our hair out. Every other network we work has a single deeplink for all pages on an advertiser's site. Linkshare makes multiple deeplink base urls for different landing pages, with no pattern to it that we can see.

    They always tell us "You're the only one with this problem"

    From everyone that we talked to at Affiliate Summit, they all HATE linkshare. Ex linkshare people hate linkshare, affilaites hate linkshare, merchants tell us they hate linkshare.

    We make so much more revenue on every metric (total dollars, EPC, per visit, CPM, etc.) in every other US network we work with, that we even doubt ourselves for working with them at all.

    We applaud every take away any network does for their advertisers. Why? because an advertiser we have through linkshare will ALWAYS make more money for us when they are in another network. We've seen this time and time again.

    The inverse is also true, when ever an advertiser moves to LinkShare, we LOSE money compared to the former network.

    Bottom line, Linkshare advertisers make less on our site, and move to the bottom. If a linkshare advertiser wants more presence on our site, their best optino is to switch networks.

  23. #22
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrStrangelove
    From everyone that we talked to at Affiliate Summit, they all HATE linkshare. Ex linkshare people hate linkshare, affilaites hate linkshare, merchants tell us they hate linkshare.
    That's something I heard quite a bit at ASE09, too. I had numerous people (completely unsolicited) tell me how much they disliked LinkShare. What surprised me the most was the merchants. I always thought that the merchants liked LinkShare.

    My biggest complaints:

    1. Not requiring an escrow account for merchants. This makes payments considerably slower than CJ, SAS, and most other networks. It also opens affiliates up to large potential losses. My (previously) largest LinkShare merchant recently closed shop, owing me 3 months worth of commissions. I can't even count how many times that has happened.

    2. They just don't listen. Reporting is a huge example. First they tried Synergy Analytics. Then the new Dashboard. Neither compared to the traditional reporting, which was fast and simple. People refused to adopt them, so now they've eliminated the traditional reporting.

    3. They don't do enough to eliminate bad practices by both merchants and affiliates. They'll let merchants use Second Bite and will allow merchants to supress affiliate sales for a myriad of nonsensical reasons. They turn a blind eye to affiliates who do unethical things that case harm to merchants and other affiliates.

    4. They require exclusivity from most of their merchants. If they truly provided value and met the needs of their merchants, they wouldn't have to contractually require exclusivity.

    They do have some really great people and many good merchants, but these problems and others make them my least favorite network (besides PepperJam and ClixGalore, which I don't work with). If I have a choice (which I seldom do), I'll work with a merchant on another network. If a merchant is asking for my advice on a network, I seldom recommend LinkShare.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  24. #23
    Newbie DrStrangelove's Avatar
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    Angry
    Michael - so true! All of your points!

    We are a top 50 affiliate in CJ and ShareASale (from what I'm told), and doing so well in Google Aff Network that they invited us to their offices in Chicago to present to merchants (guess we would be in the top 100).

    CJ - offers support left and right. ShareASale - I can reach out to Brian and get an answer.... LinkShare - I have to stand in the hallways of Aff Summit and yell at them!

    A message to LinkShare advertisers from a purely economic stand point :
    I can't optimize with you.
    It is a waste of our time.


    Here's why:
    1 - tracking is unreliable. We deep link, and although the base aff redir URL will look like it's tracking, there's really no guarantee. For an advertiser like Sierra trading Post, we're losing tons of money and there's no help from LinkShare.
    2 - payments are so slow. An escrow network pays us faster which means I use that money to fund additional growth (meaning MORE sales NOW for our escrow network advertisers). That's in addition to the risk of not getting paid as Michael stated. We're generating sales for you, and are often smaller than you. Is it appropriate to use an affiliate trying to sell your products for financing?
    3 - LS Affiliate support is not considering our needs - they will push merchants with in house management, if you can get to them. If you have out side management - you can simply forget an affiliate getting help with LinkShare for you.
    4 - LS Affiliate support has "one size fits all" solution recommendations. As what we think to be an innovative approach to the market, LinkShare would want us to work in a very 2002 type of market approach, and not push the edge.

    I love a network like ShareASale, or WebGains that will take a very proactive approach to removing parasites. The fact that Rakuten has it's OWN parasite site and toolbar just makes me even less eager to try to work with a merchant in Linkshare. Between their inside parasite and the parasite affialites, we're certain we'll be skimmed via a linkshare link.

    LinkShare merchants, we WANT to work with you, but please move to a network where we can generate sales for you. Our site self optimizes, and you're all suffering simply due to the unreliable nature of LinkShare's tracking. Linkshare plays russian roulette with the click we send to you from us. My millions of monthly visitors are going to see you less only because of the network you joined.

    LinkShare prospective merchants - Ask affiliates that you want to work with who they prefer. A decision with LinkShare will lock you in for a very long time, and then you'll have a bad experience with performance advertising.

  25. #24
    Moderator PDXreader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrStrangelove
    LinkShare - I have to stand in the hallways of Aff Summit and yell at them!

    Classy Rofl...Sounds like it was a fun event.
    J. Duffield Affiliate Manager at Snow Consulting
    Let's Connect-PassTheSEO|#GSEG|Twitter|LinkedIn|Blog "Knowledge is Power."

  26. #25
    Newbie DrStrangelove's Avatar
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    I actually have to say it was a little bit of pleasure to finally tell them how bad it is to try to work with them. It really is all based on economics. We could sell so much more for their advertisers.

    Hell, I worked there for a little bit, I can talk their lingo, know the shorthand, know who needs to do what. It's easier for them to talk with me than most other affiliates since I know the lay of the land. I'm ready to bring them millions of well converting visitors in the US and UK every month, and they won't adapt to the current market needs.

    We've got 1 in every 6 online UK shoppers coming to our site, and I refuse to load their links if that advertiser is in another network (thank you Webgains, AffiliateFuture, Affiliate Window, Buy.at, Zanox, etc.). That's a market LinkShare is struggling in because they don't get exclusivity there (ohhhh... how I wish that were true in the US), and with our site, we could catapult them into the game.

    We went to ShareASale, CJ, Google, Webgains, PepperJam booths - it was a lovefest. It was like the daily reuniting with my puppy as I walk in the door - it never gets old. And more than that, we could talk about how to do more with the advertisers we're promoting. We weren't just trying to get started, we're talked about how to be even more successful. And you know what, when we were just getting started, they still showed us respect because they recognized the potential.

    LinkShare??? We're still playing Russian Roulette with their tracking. Which means I'm not going to gamble on doing anything special for their advertisers. We should be a top performer in their network just like we are in every other network we participate in, and they throw the opportunity aside. Between the US and UK, our two sites see around 10 million monthly uniques, and it appears to have no interest to them. It's simply crazy! It makes no sense to me.

    Simply, they need to stop treating their publishers like the publisher was a pain and in their way. I don't normally recommend management consultants for a company, but they sure as hell need one.

    James

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